Its been an incredible 19 years since they last graced a court in this beautiful country, but in July this year the Harlem Globetrotters will return for a heart stopping, action yielding and entertainment epic tour of South Africa. Whether or not you are a basketball fan in South Africa, you have undoubtedly heard of the Harlem Globetrotters, a team filled with extraordinary talent and a willingness to entertain, surpassed by none.
On a recent whirlwind promotional tour of South Africa, I got the opportunity to meet with two of the iconic stars and was quickly educated back up to standard on all things Globetrotters. The passion and excitement of both Slick Willie Shaw and Sweet J Ekworomadu were palpable and the obvious delight at touring to South Africa was plain on both of their faces. That they are mobbed with every step that they take, but respond consistently with a smile and a spin of the ball, speaks volumes of the time they have for the crowds. I think when you get to watch the Globetrotters play, you experience something unique from every other sporting event. It’s a perfect blend of athleticism and entertainment and for the first time since Madiba became an honourable Globetrotter, we will get to see it live again!
Being a Harlem Globetrotter is a full-time career, but that doesn’t mean the players were not able to “Cut it” on the main scene, in fact many of them, including Sweet J, played in College basketball and on the professional circuit before dedicating their time to the Globetrotters. I mean these are players that regularly land 4 point shots, that is shots a sizeable distance further away than the standard 3 point line.
When I asked Slick Willie Shaw, who is a giant man with a giant heart, who was born in the Bronx and is now a world traveler that has visited more than 75 countries, about the South African tour, he had this to say:
“To come back to the land of the great Nelson Mandela is an absolute honour and its a beautiful place to come and visit. I cant wait to excite and entertain South Africans and maybe inspire them to chase their dreams to join the team. The game last four quarters, the memory lasts a life-time”
And then you get the effervescent Sweet J, who played in the WNBA and also is a proud African who represents the Nigerian Women’s Team. She is also the 12th female in the Harlem Globetrotters history. Her bubbly personality is a perfect indication of her fit with the Globetrotters and she had this to say about coming to South Africa:
“The Globetrotters are innovators of the game, we brought the alley-oop to the NBA and introduced the four point line, 12 feet away from the 3 point line. I cant wait to play in a country as great and beautiful as South Africa and being African I am so excited. South Africans are special people and I cant wait to entertain them.”
The Globetrotters will play in South Africa from the 1st to the 10 July in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Bookings for Cape Town and Durban are already open on Computicket with Johannesburg due to open soon. Tickets range from R150 to R650.